Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Real Estate Commissions: Burden or Bargain?

It’s hard to put a price on the satisfaction of buying a home (or selling one successfully), and on the services a real estate professional provides to help you achieve this. But such professionals pride themselves on realizing these dreams efficiently and economically. So it’s fair to ask what their commission covers.

The standard commission figure is one that real estate customers have been hearing a lot about recently, with discount competitors promising to beat it. In the business we often refer to them as limited-service competitors, because, for their reduced commission, they can’t promise to take care of all the things a veteran agent from an established company can handle for you.

In today’s busy households, simplicity and peace of mind are qualities almost as valuable in a transaction as the goods or services themselves. For a decision as major as the sale or purchase of a home, confidence and convenience become all the more important. The real estate professional familiar with your neighborhood, is best positioned to use both traditional resources and state-of-the-art tools, to bring you services of lasting value and combine them in a convenient “one-stop shop.”

At ERA Real Estate, for instance, essential tasks which could be spread out over a wide and potentially confusing range of companies can be efficiently grouped together – like buying a house through my ERA® office and financing it through ERA Mortgage.

You also need look no further for a home warranty – the ERA® Home Protection Plan® covers many of the built-in appliances and systems of a house for any repairs needed from the time the home is listed to a year after its sale.

And since there’s more to buying or selling a house than just the property itself, we’ve kept all the needs in mind and put each solution at your fingertips with the local and national ERA® Select ServicesSM programs, which give you access to efficient and affordable local providers from ERA Mortgage to ERA Home Protection Plan.

Of course, in a competitive market where the Internet is increasingly popular, we have technology tools that are second to none, and can be powerfully put to work for you – from the listings on our heavily-visited Web site,, to our sophisticated marketing programs and more.

As your neighborhood professional, it’s up to me to earn your trust, and if you can find a discount firm that gives you the convenience and confidence of a full-service agent, you’d be wise to make that choice. But I feel sure you’ll find your best investment is not with the company that takes two percent, but the professional who gives a hundred.

William Collins is a Broker Associate with ERA Queen City Realty in Scotch Plains, New Jersey and has over twenty three years experience in residential real estate sales. For more information on any of the items mentioned in this article, you can call William at 908-531-4979 on his cell phone or at the office on 908-322-5454 ext. 136.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Equity Investment Provides For A Life Line

Thomas Frankito alluded to an arrangement between Bank of America and Countrywide in his blog post entitled "Bank of America Looking at Countrywide", back on January 30, 2007.
Clearly there were signs of strain to those in the industry. Those who understood the make up of Countrywide's portfolio of loans and the ensuing challenges they would face in the coming months. Here we are nearly eight months later and Bank of America exercises its right to invest in the embattled mortgage lender, to the tune of 2 billion dollars, according to The Wall street Journal. Not much is being said about discussions between the two business concerns. In point of fact there has been no information on discussions prior to the equity investment or relative to future business dealings between the two.
Can those of us in the industry breath a sigh of relief? hard to say as it is yet to early in the game. The option arm product fallout has not seen its zenith yet. what we can glean from this, is hope for consumer confidence to begin to turn the corner. Confidence that will send a positive signal to wall street and result in more sound real estate investment for owner occupants, investors and most of all sellers. It is my hope that this is the beginning of the stemming of the bloodletting of Countrywide. Perhaps this alliance will spur other efforts to reposition the mortgage giant. We cannot afford as a nation, nor less we forget th global ramifications of the failure of a concern such as Countrywide, as alluded to by Brain Brady in Bailing Out Countrywide- Is it 1980 All Over Again?.
This infusion of cash, I for one think "It's A Good Thing", to quote Martha Stewart. This one is to be watched very closely.